With the Red Sox farm system looking to break out in force in 2014, I'm looking at 2013 less as a season where I absolutely must win a championship, and more as a season where I should try to be competitive without plugging the holes that our high-upside prospect will need to fill two years from now.
This offseason plan will, in the end, create an entirely boom or bust team for the 2013 baseball season. If everything goes right, the team could waltz into the world series without a hitch. If things go wrong, and lets face it, this is the Sox, I could very well lose my job, with the Sox having an even worse year than the one they had in 2012. With the situation the Sox will be in after this year though, I feel like rolling the dice.
After retaining the services of David Ortiz (2/26) and Cody Ross (2/18) my first move for the 2012 offseason is to call up former backup catcher Kelly Shoppach. After apologizing profusely for taking Bobby Valentine's side in text-gate, I would offer him a one-year, six million dollar contract. As another apology for sending him away to the Mets for Pedro Beato, I would grant him a limited no-trade clause, allowing him to pick as many teams as he likes that I cannot send him to. Shoppach's numbers with Boston were great, but they tailed off severely with the Mets. I'm hoping that is more a function of the Mets' home ballpark, and that Shoppach will return to being a great backup catcher in Boston.
Next, for the hole at first base. Rather than trading for Justin Morneau or Ike Davis, or even signing Mike Napoli, I shall attempt to catch lightning in a bottle by signing Aubrey Huff to a minor-league contract. In his first full year with the San Francisco Giants, Huff put up an .896 OPS, and though his career offensive output has fluctuated wildly, I'm gambling that a return to an offense-friendly park with lineup protection that he has, quite frankly, never before enjoyed, will help him put up solid offensive numbers again. He will compete with Jerry Sands and Mauro Gomez for the starting first base job.
At shortstop, I am willing to let Ivan De Jesus begin the year as the starter. Pedro Ciriaco remains as his backup and utility infielder, less because of Ciriaco's skills, and more because of the total lack of talent at the shortstop position. Should Jose Iglesias give me any hope at all of his ability to post a major league OBP higher than .315, he will be promoted, and Ciriaco will be sent home.
To fill holes in the outfield, Chris Hernandez and Jose Vinicio find their way to Cleveland for Shin-Soo Choo. As with Huff, I'm hoping that the outfielder regains his 2010 form. Daniel Nava is kept on to platoon with Cody Ross in left field, while Juan Carlos Linares becomes the fifth outfielder.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, ironically, returns to the Texas Rangers and in return we receive Colby Lewis. Lewis had elbow surgery in July, and likely will not be ready to start the season, but he was a very good pitcher in 2011, and even if he starts the year on the DL, I'm hopeful that he can provide us with quality innings during the summer. To fill out the rest of the rotation, I bring Shaun Marcum to Boston for one year and ten million dollars.
The Red Sox Opening Day roster for 2013 will look like so:
1B Aubrey Huff
SS Ivan De Jesus
LF Daniel Nava
RF Shin-Soo Choo
DH David Ortiz
1B/OF Jerry Sands
OF Cody Ross
OF Juan Carlos Linares
C Kelly Shoppach
SP Jon Lester
SP Shaun Marcum
SP John Lackey
RP Clayton Mortenson
As I said, the roster is very boom or bust, feast of famine. If the new acquisitions click like I hope they will, we should have a team to be feared in the AL East. If they don't, well, there's always next year, hey?